they scratched their heads and tried to put out the fire, a dark figure
with glowing green eyes rolled his fingers across a fine mahogany desk
only fifty yards from the Spectre-Slayers. Each finger stuck with
adhesive to the desk as he rapped them across the wood causing a series
of tearing and sticky sounds.
interlopers seem intent on continuing their assault,” he noted aloud.
“Neither my initial display of non-hostility, nor standard swarm tactics
has had the desired effect... and now nearly 98% of my city maintenance
crew has been wiped out. Perhaps a change of strategy is in order.”
A lone mummy
with an accountant’s visor looked up from its desk and moaned at Phasmus
you mean, `am I addressing you or just talking to myself?’ Didn’t
you read my article in Fortunefiend 500? The best CEO’s think
aloud! Besides...it will further the plot in my biography and thus
will read more smoothly than suggested thoughts....just in case someone
decides to tell my story some day.”
behind the desk shrugged, lowered its visor, and went back to punching
sticky numbers on its old-fashioned calculator; paper rolling and printing
with every keystroke.
the catacombs seemed to work well last time these ridiculously misguided
flesh things invaded my peaceful home. Fiends don’t breathe and a
good corridor wash keeps the levels of filth to acceptable efficiency standards.
However, my mummy always suggested that business comes before pleasure
in even the most dire of circumstances, and I did manage to turn
the last Pureblood encounter into a lucrative venture. I’ve been
looking for a means of playing this Spectre card anyhow. Why wait
to ruin GAVAL’s Christmas when I can just blackmail him here and now?
The interest rates are expected to plummet over the fall anyway.”
Phasmus’ green eyes grew brighter as he pointed to the ceiling in personal
satisfaction. “Very well, business! Mmnng! Get
me an audience with the head Slayer! We have something to discuss!”
adjusted his tie and shirtsleeves in an awfully menacing executive fashion,
ran towards the final corner of the Catacombs where the green light was
putting the fire out with Curly and Larry!” complimented GAVAL as he shook
spam off of his Jungle Boots.
just don’t realize what a good drawbridge-slash-fire extinguisher meat
by-products can make,” informed the New Zealander as he adjusted the oxygen
flow of a flame thower's pilot light.
cried Sasha as she stopped in her tracks and looked down a side corridor.
retorted GAVAL as he continued to run in the direction of the green light.
a side corridor we missed here. Shouldn’t we check it out to protect
Jude check it out! I have a date with adhesive evil!” cried the Cajun
as he rounded the corner with a leap and an “evaahl!”
and stopped jogging. “Great! Now we miss all the good stuff!
There’s nothing down there, Sasha. You’re always getting in my damn
over and shined a light towards the end of the small dark corridor that
went 90 degrees left from the main route. “I didn’t ask you to stay,
GAVAL did, asshole. Go if you wanna go. I’m watching my friends’
can watch your own, hick!” With that Jude turned towards the green
light and marched off angrily.
As she proceeded
down the corridor she came to a dead end. Sasha turned around about
to head out, but then noticed a man-sized fissure she had missed on their
initial pass. Taking off her smoke hood she slowly leaned into the fissure
and peered inside. Her eyes grew large with fear as she spied two
bright green points of light growing out of the darkness glaring out at
she launched a stake between the creature's eyes. Her aim was true... but
this TapeFiend didn't fall as the others had, and it struck with unexpected
speed. A writhing mass of adhesive tendrils was wrapped around her face
before she had a chance to scream.
the first to arrive at the green light, but the only thing he found there
was disappointment. Sitting in the corner, plugged to a standard
power outlet was a Lava lamp with green bubbles floating up and down.
On a sign made of multicoloured masking tape above them were the words,
“Nngh and Mrrgph’s Groovy Corner of Equity and Mayhem.”
it?” asked Marco as he lowered his revolver and took off his smoke hood.
Café,” GAVAL scowled. “Ah hate that mummy.”
please." a low, resonant voice called out of the darkness. "You are all
guilty of breaking and entering, trespassing, destruction of city property
and necrocide in the first degree. All present members of the ASG are guilty
of first degree contractual violation."
fell silent as the primary TapeFiend walked forward. He held the young
Sasha, struggling, wrapped and gagged in a sticky gray adhesive cocoon
under his right arm. He glowered at the slayers... but his gaze finally
rested on GAVAL.
to Evil, etc, GAVAL!” said Phasmus in a cheerful tone.
around and glared at Jude accusingly. If looks could kill...
“The Great Holy War is long over, Phasmus, and your status as a Quasi-Evil
Duct-Tape Enshrouded Living-Impaired Person-Like Allied Entity has
long-since been revoked. I’d advise you to stop using our old slogan
and surrender our girl unharmed,” instructed GAVAL in angry but concise
others to go," Phasmus said in a disturbing and calm voice. “We have
business to discuss.”
down Phasmus! I don’t negotiate wit EVAAHL! AHHH!” GAVAL yelled in
response as he took a cautious step forward.
eyes narrowed and Sasha shuddered in pain.
I am currently inflicting on this Slayer-ling would be fatal to a non-rushed
human. Tell the others to go."
for a moment, wondering just how far Phasmus would go. He turned and motioned
for the other Slayers in Training to return to the surface. “Make sure
they make it out safe, Lothos. And find out why dat one wasn’t wit’
Sasha like I tol’ him.”
hesitated, unsure if this was still part of the training exercise, before
quickly dispersing at GAVAL's second, more urgent, command.
the other Slayers had gone GAVAL turned back to Phasmus. He spoke slowly...
virtually hissing, "Let her go, Phasmus...Ah’m not gonna ask you again,
TapeFiend shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't do that quite yet.
I am being more than generous by not eliminating you and your murderous
underlings where you stand, you see. It would be well within my rights
to do so. Besides, we still have business to discuss... and it seems I
can't trust you unless I have a bargaining chip of some sort."
in the way Phasmus said 'trust' made GAVAL snap. He rushed forward with
inhuman speed. He just barely managed to skid to a halt as Sasha's muffled
scream pierced the air. She now hung limply under Phasmus's arm.
looked calmly at GAVAL's shocked face. "She is still alive. Try something
like that again and she won't be. A simple enough concept, I hope."
just a kid!" GAVAL yelled with increasing
rage. Despite Phasmus's threat, GAVAL required a great deal of concentration
to keep himself from charging again. The effects of his tainted Rush
were winning slowly, and his eyes started to glow a dim and distinctive
TapeFiend nodded in satisfaction, "Indeed, and a good thing too. If she
were much stronger I'd have to hurt her a great deal worse to keep her
seethed and hissed through his teeth, "Let. Her.
did you raid my Catacombs, GAVAL?"
do you know about Plague-Sever, GAVAL?"
did you get your Rush back, GAVAL?"
HER GO YOU VILE UNDEAD WAD OF FILTH!" His eyes were now
glowing brightly. The shotgun in his left hand was squeezed and crushed
beyond usefulness from the surge of strength the horrible tainted Rush
brought him. The pain was worse now than it had been last time he
made himself Rush but he showed little sign of the agony and dropped the
gun, reaching for a pair of rune-covered stakes.
sighed, "You can't get something for nothing. I've asked you three simple
questions. Answer them and I will release her immediately."
growled menacingly. The animalistic threat he voiced wasn't a sound
commonly made by humans.
would advise you to hurry... I believe you've killed all of my strongly
necromancy-based minions in the local sector. She could loose the Rush
at any time. If she does, she will die."
was a training mission!" GAVAL hissed, his eyes flaring brighter
nodded slowly. "All my poor little minions... murdered... for a training
mission." Phasmus lamented with disturbing sincerity. "All they ever do
is work to make Irvine a nicer, stickier, place... And there you go, mercilessly
slaughtering them... While they aren't even fast enough to flee effectively."
He made a low, sad, gurgling sound before continuing, "Living creatures
are so cruel." He paused a moment and quickly resumed his fiendish
mannerisms. "Go on then, a training mission to what end?"
train for killing the Plague-Sever Spectre." GAVAL replied as
if explaining a very simple concept to a young child.
naturally... revenge, then, is it?"
this point Sasha seemed to be regaining consciousness. Her eyes flickered
open. They still glowed blue with the Rush, but they were much dimmer than
they had been before. Phasmus discretely loosened his hold on her.
kept his gaze fixed on the TapeFiend, the object of his rage, "The
thing's gotta die! And so do YOU!"
don't know anything about it, do you?" the TapeFiend asked irritably. "It's
just another evil creature to be slain in your eyes... with a bit of personal
stake in the matter as well, so to speak."
scowled, "It's killing people! It..."
the ex-Slayer stopped in mid sentence and asked suspiciously, "Why
do you care about the Spectre anyway?"
grinned fiendishly and simply responded, "I can't have dangerous, unauthorised
necromantic beings floating around my city, now can I?" He continued, "Now,
so you and I and your little friend here can get on with our respective
lives and unlives... Why can you Rush again?"
remained silent. Something was telling him to attack now while his opponent
was at ease. Only the frightened, confused, tape-slathered face of Sasha
served to hold him back. She didn’t know about his Rush and would
notice his glowing eyes any second if she hadn’t already heard Phasmus
grin vanished and he narrowed his eyes. As he began to press his question
into the Slayer the last of the Rush left Sasha and her body was forced
to deal with the full crushing constriction of the TapeFiend's tendrils.
She writhed weakly before passing out again.
look of pain on her face was sufficient persuasion for GAVAL. "NIGHTEYE!"
he screamed at Phasmus. "I made a deal with him..."
looked stricken. His eyes dimmed to dark green points in his writhing face.
His tendrils withdrew from his hostage, leaving her resin-soaked body on
the cold stone floor.
the TapeFiend hissed, his voice barely audible over the sound of his tendrils
writhing madly, "Sold out... to Nighteye?"
simply sneered back in response, as he began to move forward to pick up
Sasha. Phasmus stared at him silently as he picked up his stricken
apprentice and began to back away. GAVAL's sneer was replaced by
a near-fiendish smirk.
glare intensified and he twitched and writhed, "You don’t negotiate with
evil, eh? At least you get a benefits package when you sell your
soul to Phasmus & Co! How could you..."
TapeFiend was interrupted as a Death-Night staff, enveloped in unholy black
flame, connected with the back of his head. Caught off balance, the TapeFiend
flailed madly before falling face first to the floor. Lothos stood
behind him grinning wildly, spackled with adhesive resin.
Sasha to Lothos GAVAL growled with glowing eyes, “Leave
us. Get her to Mu. It’s time to deal with this one.”
Lothos grinned and twirled his staff like a baton as he walked out with
the girl in his arms. He knew GAVAL would be fine alone in the Catacombs.
He was born to deal with those types.
I have a bit of business for you,” GAVAL said with a grin as
he raised a stake to bring down on Phasmus head.
me, traitor…is your woman - your Rachel - worth the kill…the taste
of vengeance?” sputtered Phasmus. Thick, gooey resin was leaking
from the top of his head, down between his dimly lit green eyes.
for a moment. “No more discussions, Phasmus.
This stake will be doing the rest of my negotiating.”
He raised the stake again, but Phasmus kept doing what he did best.
bring the Spectre back to me alive or the next time you see her she’ll
be liquidated…I will see to it that you lose her. Forever.”
never have the chance to give those orders! Get your filthy tendrils
near her, or anyone else.” The stake came down and dug
deep into Phasmus’ neck. GAVAL twisted the stake a couple of times
and pulled the stake out of the side of the TapeFiend’s neck, ripping half
of it away. Resin oozed out into a puddle on the floor and Phasmus’
arms, legs, and tendrils went limp. They had been trying to surround
GAVAL’s limbs but his brute strength ripped them like tissue paper every
time they went taught around him.
writhed. Between this newfound strength and a pact with Nighteye,
GAVAL was no longer a known quantity. Phasmus was more than content
to let the Slayer believe he had won… and take a slightly more diplomatic
approach to things.
was given weeks ago…arrangements have been in place for some time, GAVAL.
If anything happens to me...she will become one of us...”
reign is over. There’ll be no one left to carry out your silly orders,”
GAVAL grinned fiercely as he ripped out another third of Phasmus’ neck
with the blunt end of the rune stake.
have cells around the country...she is as good as dead. You think
you can save her by destroying me? She is as good as ours…if you
don’t comply. To say nothing of other… repercussions… my demise would
at the thought.
protect her forever. We will take her. Liquidate her,
place her under our protection. Save her from the scourge that is
humanity…save her from you, GAVAL. With or without me...Horde victory.”
the Cajun. He ripped Phasmus’ head off its body with his bare hands
and brought the thing to within inches of his own face. Lavender
glowing eyes faced green glowing ones as the two powerful beings came closer
than they ever had in a defining moment.
de deal, you sonofa tape-wrapped bitch. Take it or leave it and ah
chase your agents down and eradicate all that’s left of your Horde.
You know ah have de resources to do it. If I catch you liquidating
any of the good people of this nation again, my people will shut you down
PERMANENTLY. This city doesn’t want or need your leadership.
Anyone joins the Horde involuntarily anywhere and you get bathed
in detergent and escort-shipped to the Vatican for permanent planer exorcism.
And believe me, we know how to banish someone from existence. We’re
not as stupid as we pretend to be. If you and yours go anywhere near
Rachel your existence ceases. Got it? I love that girl but
her life isn’t worth the hundreds more you might ruin. No one’s is.
We’re watching you.”
GAVAL threw Phasmus’ head against a stone wall with a splat. Phasmus
stuck to the wall and slowly dropped down before settling a foot from the
get...to make a counter-offer?” whispered the TapeFiend miserably, but
the Slayer was already on his way out. Bodies of vanquished TapeFiends
lined the corridors a quarter of a mile in every direction from Phasmus’
headquarters. He would be lucky to find a handful left intact.
The minion losses were nearly as bad as those of the bored Canuckalisk
rampage during the Great Holy War. Recovery would take months.
head rested on the floor, glowering at the ceiling of the catacombs, as
his body, or what was left of it, slowly oozed off of the floor and began
to craw around sticking itself back together. After Phasmus finished
reassembling himself, he paused a moment to reexamine the situation.
has fallen…” Phasmus seethed, virtually chanting to himself, “What
was good is evil… We have miscalculated… somewhere… This wasn’t supposed
to happen… He has opposed Phasmus & Co… gravely. His existence
has become a liability… All opposition will be liquidated…
All liabilities must become assets…”
for a moment, narrowing his eyes at the darkness that surrounded him.
“The ex-Slayer can not be attacked directly… No…
Never that… A powerful opponent, backed by many others, and one who
may still hold some use… He must be crushed from the inside out…
TapeFiend’s face writhed and twitched as he began a long, low, sinister
laugh. He laughed and writhed as he lurched into the depths of his
catacombs to begin the tedious process of reassembling and reanimating
the few minions that hadn’t been damaged beyond repair. He was going
to correct the situation. The first step was to pay a visit to Ms.
of the Spectre Episode 3 - Page 4